Before I tell you about the book, let me tell you how I found out about the book! I was on a visit to meet an old co-worker in New York City because she had recently undergone surgery and I hadn’t seen her in years (practically). She is such a sweet and kind soul, she invited all of her younger friends that same day. She knew I would enjoy their company and she wanted me to meet them. There I met Bisma.
It always amazes me how I meet someone for the first time and the conversation just rolls. We spoke about so many different things that day, from our struggles to our hopes and then (my all-time favorite topic) the power of doua. She then pointed out to me, Love in Cancun. She said she had just went to a “meet the author” type of event in New York and there she met Ganiyah Tope Fajingbesi the author of Love in Cancun. Ganiyah spoke about the parts of her book that were based on actual events and which parts were based on events that happened later. I remember vividly Bisma sharing the story of how Ganiyah actually met her future husband and how it was exactly how she wanted it to happen and exactly what she had been making doua for it to happen.
Fast forward a few months later, I start working for ICNA Relief, a domestic relief organization focused on building transitional houses, food pantries and free health clinics all throughout the country. I reached out to Bisma to ask her for the name of the name of the book, because we were having our annual fundraising banquet themed “The Power of the Pen,” and I wanted to reach out to Ganiyah to support our cause by providing us signed copies of her book. A few weeks later, we received five copies of the book mashaAllah.
Finally getting the book and being able to read it, I was excited to have my own personal (signed!) copy! The poem entitled Life, which Ganiyah used to open up the book with, just spoke to me. I didn’t just relate to what she said, but was actually coming to the same conclusions she stated so beautifully in the poem, I knew I would totally relate to her six-days in Cancun vacation.
From her thoughts on what ‘others’ thought of her fully dressed in over 90-degree weather, to her enjoying the fresh ocean breeze from her balcony, to her night time walks on the beach, I related to her every move, her every reflection and it almost felt like I went on the trip with her! Through the book I learned the importance of hitting the pause button in life and to gather one’s thoughts, dreams and hopes for the future, no matter how unconventional it seems to others.
My favorite part, was of course related to the title of the book Love in Cancun. It happened at the most unexpected place and at the most unexpected moment, but she embraced the idea with an open mind and of course an open heart. Even though the moment she found love was expected, it was the most perfect timing for her and for him. That is exactly how doua works. It comes at the most unexpected moments but it always comes in the most perfect moment. That is the power of Allah’s planning if we trust His plan.
The way Ganiyah ended the book was like icing on the cake. It not only spoke to me, but it reaffirmed to me and it was almost like an affirmation that I am on the right track and I have the support of Ganiyah herself. She says, “I pray that Love in Cancun inspires you to connect with your soul. And I hope it inspires you to speak greatness, love and success into your existence because, as I found out after writing this book, your biggest dreams can and will come true if you believe.” Then she states the most liberating (yet scariest) thing, “Thank you so much for reading my story, it’s now time to write yours.”
Will I respond to her request? Only time will tell. For now, I will doua it.